The state of Arizona has strict laws against prostitution. But are escorts legal in Arizona? Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group have extensive experience in handling cases involving AZ escorts and prostitutes. If you’re accused and convicted of violating Arizona escort laws, we will fight for the best case outcome in court. To get started on your attorney-client relationship with us, call 602-910-4040 today.
What is an Escort?
An escort is basically a person who offers entertainment or social interaction in exchange for money. Many people compare escorts to prostitutes. But the main difference between the two is that an escort is paid for their time while a prostitute is explicitly paid for sexual conduct.
What is Prostitution in Arizona?
Prostitution occurs when a person agrees to receive payment for engaging in sexual conduct. Engaging in prostitution is strictly illegal in Arizona. Anyone who participates in any aspect of prostitution – whether that be buying, selling, promoting, or facilitating sexual activity – can face jail time and a felony on their record.
Is Escorting Legal in Arizona?
As previously stated, people pay escorts for their time. More specifically, people generally pay escorts for social and entertainment services. As long as escorts don’t offer or engage in sexual acts in exchange for money, they are technically not engaging in prostitution.
Therefore, escorting is technically legal in Arizona as long as no one offers or engages in sexual activity.
However, escorts and escort agencies are commonly known for exchanging sexual services despite U.S. prostitution laws. Many escorts and escort agencies claim they’re selling social and entertainment services – when really they’re selling sexual services – just to evade the legal consequences of prostitution.
Pimping and Pandering Laws in Arizona
The buyer and the seller aren’t the only ones benefiting from prostitution. That’s why Arizona also has pimping and pandering laws that specifically target third parties who promote and facilitate a sexual act from a prostitute.
According to Arizona state prostitution laws, it’s illegal to:
- Drive someone into or across the state of Arizona in order to engage in prostitution
- Take a portion of the prostitute’s payment for their sexual act
- Bring someone into a home or building for the sake of prostitution
- Receive payment for bringing someone into a home or building for the sake of prostitution
- Encourage someone to be a prostitute
- Persuade someone to engage in prostitution through lies or fraud
- Own, manage or work at an agency that provides sex work in exchange for money
- Keep someone in a prostitution house or building for the sake of debt
- Threaten, force, or lie to your spouse in order for them to engage in prostitution
- Tempt someone to engage in prostitution
How to Prove That Someone is Guilty of Prostitution
In order to convict someone of prostitution in the state of Arizona, a criminal defense attorney must prove the following elements:
- A person offered something of value in exchange for money.
- The “something of value” that was offered in exchange for money was a sexual act. In other words, there was intent on following through with the sexual conduct in order to receive money.
- Steps were taken to follow through with the exchange, or the exchange was completed.
Penalties for Prostitution in Arizona
If a Phoenix sex crimes attorney is able to prove the aforementioned elements of prostitution, all parties involved will certainly face jail time. In Arizona, prostitution is punishable by:
- A minimum of 15 days in jail if it was the first offense,
- A minimum of 30 days in jail if it was the second offense,
- Or a minimum of 60 days in jail if it was the third offense.
If a court accuses and convicts you of only three offenses of prostitution, you will only have a class 1 misdemeanor on your record. Those charged with fewer than three prostitution offenses must also pay a fine of at least $2,500 and endure a court-ordered prostitution treatment program.
However, if a court accuses and convicts you of more than 4 offenses of prostitution, you’ll receive a class 5 felony charge. As punishment for this felony, you must spend up to six months in prison and pay a $150,000 fine. Those found guilty of pimping and pandering will also receive a class 5 felony conviction.
Child Prostitution Penalties in Arizona
The penalties for child prostitution in Arizona are much more severe. If a person takes and forces a child under the age of 15 years old to engage in prostitution, they will spend 13-27 years behind bars. However, if the person has a previous sex crime on their record, they will spend 37 years in jail.
A person who engages in prostitution with a child between the ages of 15-17 years old will face up to 21 years in jail for a first offense and up to 35 years in jail for all other offenses. But if the person doesn’t know that the child is between the ages of 15 and 17 years old, they will still receive a class 6 felony charge. Additionally, they must spend at least 3 months in jail. Speak with a Class 6 felony lawyer with our firm if this is the case.
Lastly, a person who takes and forces a child over the age of 15 years old to engage in prostitution will receive a class 4 felony. They will also face up to 4 years in jail.
Defenses for Prostitution in Phoenix, AZ
There are multiple defenses that a Phoenix criminal defense attorney can use against a prostitution charge. When you call an attorney at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group, we will thoroughly investigate the details of your case and determine which defense will best work in your favor. If any of the following defenses work in your favor, you could possibly receive a lesser offense or lesser penalties.
The Suspect is An Escort
If you’re accused of prostitution, but you’re an escort who is only paid for providing social or entertainment services and not sexual favors, Phoenix criminal defense attorneys will use this fact in your favor. We’ll gather evidence and witness statements to prove this defense.
Mistake of Fact
If you had no intention of participating in prostitution, criminal defense attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group could claim a mistake of fact on your behalf. For example, maybe you wanted to go to a party, and the party location ended up being a prostitution house, but you realized that too late. Our attorneys can gather evidence and witness statements to support this claim.
Another possible defense is entrapment, which is generally difficult to prove. Entrapment is basically when a police officer tricks or encourages someone to commit a crime. If law enforcement tricks or encourages you to engage in prostitution, attorneys at our law firm would fight for your justice.
Sex Trafficking Victim
In some cases, owners and even bystanders accuse sex trafficking victims of prostitution. Because U.S. law considers sex trafficking as modern-day slavery, the last thing victims deserve is to endure more injustice by going to jail for a crime they didn’t commit. Our criminal defense attorneys understand how traumatic this situation is for victims. We want to make sure that victims of sex trafficking can heal from their trauma in a safe place. Not behind bars.
Call Criminal Defense Attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group Today
Criminal defense attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group are skilled in defending AZ escorts and prostitutes from the law. If you or someone you love is facing a lengthy jail sentence and thousands of dollars in fines due to prostitution charges, give us a call at 602-910-4040 today. We also handle Internet sex crimes that involve escorting and prostitution.